Siddaramaiah to announce portfolio allocation today after Karnataka gets full cabinet.

The Karnataka cabinet reached its full strength of 34 on Saturday after the Congress-led state government inducted 24 new ministers, a week after chief minister Siddaramaiah, his deputy DK Shivakumar and eight others took oath as ministers.

On Saturday, Governor Thaawarchand Gehlot administered the oath of office and secrecy to 24 new ministers, including Congress leader NS Boseraju, who is not a member of either of the two houses of the state legislature, during an event at the Raj Bhavan. The ceremony commenced at 11.45 am and lasted for over an hour.

Though the allocation of portfolios to the newly sworn-in ministers is yet to be announced, a draft list of the same was leaked on Saturday, prompting several Congress legislators raising concerns. However, party leaders said final decision on allocation of departments is yet to be taken.

Talking to reporters on Saturday, Siddaramaiah said the announcement regarding portfolios will be made on Sunday.

People familiar with the development said chief minister Siddaramaiah is likely to keep finance, cabinet affairs and intelligence portfolios with himself. Deputy chief minister DK Shivakumar is likely to get crucial Bengaluru development and power portfolios.

The cabinet expansion on Saturday saw representation being given to various communities, caste groups and regions, as Siddaramaiah had earlier indicated.

Out of the 24 leaders who took oath as ministers on Saturday, six are from the politically dominant Lingayat community, followed by four Vokkaligas, three Scheduled Castes (SCs), two Scheduled Tribes (STs), one Muslim, and one Brahmin. Other communities also got one representation each in the expanded cabinet.

Lakshmi Hebbalkar, the Congress legislator from Belagavi rural, is the lone woman minister in the new Karnataka cabinet. Hebbalkar is also among nine first-time ministers in the state along with K Venkatesh, Byrathi Suresh, Madhu Bangarappa, D Sudhakar, Mankal Vaidya, KN Rajanna, NS Boseraju, and B Nagendra.

Those who were picked from the Lingayat community as ministers on Saturday are Eshwar Khandre, Lakshmi Hebbalkar, Shivananda Patil, SS Mallikarjun, Sharanabasappa Darshanapur, and Sharan Prakash Patil. The four Vokkaliga leaders are Krishna Byre Gowda, N Cheluvarayaswamy, K Venkatesh and MC Sudhakar.

From Scheduled Castes, Siddaramaiah’s close aide HC Madaveappa, along with RB Timmapur and Shivaraj Tangadagi got a berth in cabinet expansion, while B Nagendra and KN Rajanna were the two ST legislators to feature on the list.

Byrathi Basavaraj (Kuruba), Madhu Bangarappa (Ediga), Santosh Lad (Maratha), Makala Vaidya (Mogaveera) and NS Boseraju (Raju) — all from backward classes — were also appointed as ministers in the southern state on Saturday.

Rahim Khan, who becomes the second Muslim minister in the Siddaramaiah government, was the only name from his community to feature on the expanded cabinet list. D Sudhakar, a Jain, also found a spot in the new cabinet. Dinesh Gundu Rao, a Brahmin, was also included in the cabinet, along with HK Patil, who represented the Namdari Reddy community.

Meanwhile, springing a surprise, NS Boseraju, who is not a member of either house of the legislature, also took oath as a minister and is likely to become a member of the legislative council.

In the overall region-wise allocation of cabinet berths, both Bengaluru and Hyderabad-Karnataka got eight ministers each, followed by Bombay-Karnataka and Old Mysuru with seven each, Central Karnataka (three), and Coastal Karnataka (one).

The higher allocation to Bengaluru is seen as the party’s calculated ploy to strengthen its position ahead of the forthcoming civic elections in the capital city. “The inclusion of eight MLAs from Bengaluru in the cabinet is aimed at the upcoming polls,” said a senior Karnataka Congress leader, requesting anonymity.

Meanwhile, opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Saturday said it would hold statewide agitations if the Congress government fails to fulfil its five guarantees to the people. Addressing reporters in Mangaluru, state BJP chief Nalin Kumar Kateel said the guarantees should be implemented within a month and warned that the government will face a series of protests if there is any delay in this regard.

Hours after the swearing-in of new ministers, when asked a question on the poll promises, Siddaramaiah said it was his government’s first priority. “I can’t keep answering questions of the Opposition. I am clear that the plan discussed be announced at the first meeting of the cabinet,” he told reporters.

Speaking to reporters after paying his respect to former prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru on the occasion of his 59th death anniversary, Siddaramaiah also warned of strict action against any organisation that disturbed peace and harmony in the society.

Earlier, the Congress stormed to power after winning 135 seats in the 224-member legislative assembly, elections for which were held on May 10.

Source- Hindustan Times.

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